First Field Trip

Day 32 of 365

The first few times we raised baby chicks in a brooder, I was worried every second, just like a new parent, I suppose. But I followed all of the rules for temperature, and every time one was sacked out, I was terrified it was dead. Then, I watched a mama hen raise baby chicks. Those babies were out on field trips at just a few days old, even in cooler temperatures.

Of course, the babies could snuggle up to mama any time they wanted, but I was surprised, based on all the things I had read about the fragility of baby chicks, that the mama would have them out and about so young. And then I watched how the mama would boss the babies with her gentle pecks that sometimes were not so gentle.

I began to realize that baby chicks were tougher than I had thought. I mean, they are still tiny fragile things, but they are much tougher than you might think.

Of course, I still worry, but not as much as I used to. Mainly, I worry now when I am raising chicks because I know, by comparison, I am a terrible substitute for the real thing. Truly, there is nothing more magnificent to me than watching a mama hen raise her babies. She devotes herself to those babies 24-7. Of course, she only has to be a mama for six to ten weeks. As a human mom, I do have to pace myself, but I admire her work.

Our current chicks have to settle for me as a mom, which means they only get to come out of the brooder and play once per day, but I try to play with them at least an hour. Mostly, it’s just running around my grown daughter’s old bedroom, which seems to be the safest place to raise baby chicks away from our cats. But, today was a big day. Today, the baby chicks got a real field trip outside in the sunshine.

One of the baby chicks immediately took the sunbathing pose. That was the dark gray chick named Faure (after the composer). The others were more nervous and stayed close to their traveling box for a long time. Finally, they started to feel a little brave and ventured a few feet from me and the box. It was lovely. I had time today to hang out with them a long time. We sat in the sun long enough that my neck got toasty and the baby chicks got too chilly and tucked themselves into my arm pits.

It was a beautiful day. I think we all enjoyed ourselves. My son has a recital tomorrow, but after that, I think the baby chicks will get another field trip.

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